February 10, 2014 Once Upon A Time...I Served in Russia!

Oh wait... Just kidding. I'm in Salem, Oregon! We've just gotten a
booty-load of snow. And by that I mean like 11 inches. Pretty cray
cray. So we've been "grounded" since Thursday. We went walking to some appointments on Thursday, then Sister A got sick and we've been pretty much stuck inside every since.  Poor thing..not fun.

Despite filling out my third visa application, I actually have some
good news when it comes tone travel department! I got a Tiwi card!!
Let me tell you what exactly that means, young padawans. Tiwi is this little white box that is stuck up in the front windshield of outer
car. It tracks our driving and even talks to us sometimes. ("Check
your speed!") To be able to drive in the OSM, you have to have a Tiwi card that signs you in at the beginning of the day. Usually visa
waiters don't have those for obvious reasons. But I filled out the
paperwork and whatnot, and now I have a Tiwi card! I consider myself officially an OSM missionary now!

So for the majority of the week, we've been inside filling out our
online area book and not turning into Popsicles. Although I may or may not have made a sister missionary snow angel. :) Our neighbor then told us to make a Mormon missionary snowman, but ain't nobody got time for that! Sister P and Sister A have named my alter ego. Her name is BonQuifa and she's a hoot.

Here's your  quote from B (someone we are teaching) for the week: (after hearing we were still coming for our lesson despite the blizzard) "They're working in this??
Why don't they go inside and work on themselves?"

That could sound pretty snarky is you say it the wrong way, but B
is the bomb.com and wanted us to take some time to work on ourselves rather than helping everyone else for one. Haha he's funny. After watching this Mormon Message about the sacrifices a family made to get sealed in the temple we asked B what he thought about the video. He said, "Working in a nickel mine must really suck." I'm like alright mister! I know you've got deep insightful thoughts swirling around in your noggin! Don't even try that one on me! But it was still pretty funny. So there, two B quotes for the price of one! That's a steal,folks!

Yesterday, church was cancelled for the stake, so we had a sacrament meeting for just the missionaries. It was pretty awesome. Missionaries gave talks, and Sister P and I sang a mash-up of "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" and "I Feel My Savior's Love." It was a pretty arrangement, but we couldn't get a pianist in to practice with us, so it was a cappella.

Those are just some of the highlights of another crazy, awesome, crazy awesome, fun, snow-filled week in the OSM!

Keep it real.
Stay in school.
Remember who you are and what you stand for.
Preach the gospel!!

Sister Baker


February 3, 2014 Another Cray Cray Week in the OSM (Oregon Salem Mission)

Oi todos! (translation: hey errrybody!)

^ That's probably the most Portuguese I've said in a while. #visawaiterstruggs

Oh wait. That's a lie. When we pray together as a companionship I say it in Portuguese. And we pray together A LOT. But that's still the extent of my language practice. It is what it is. 

Life in Oregon is sah-weet! 
And life with iPads is sah-weet!!

We got our fancy shmancy ipads this past Tuesday and they're awesome! We got together with another zone for a technology roll-out with President Samuelian and other leadership. Our planners, area books, scriptures, basically our lives are on these things now. I could tell a lot of missionaries have been feeling apprehensive about using technology, but this is the direction the Lord is taking His work. President asked us how hard the work would be if we didn't have a cell phone, then he asked how hard it would be if we didn't have texting. As a missionary working with the young single adults, I can tell you that it would be impossible. I send more text messages now as a missionary than I ever did before. If we didn't have texting we couldn't effectively do the work, if any work at all. He drew a parallel to this new technology. In a very short amount of time, taking away the technology we have would be detrimental to the work. And I can really see how that's true. We've already been able to use these new tools to hasten the work of salvation. It's amazing that I get to see this all unfold before me. What a tender mercy!

So even without rockin' iPads this week has been good! Let me tell you about one of my favorite people ever. B. Oh my lanta he's so great. I've told you about him before but every week he just grows and grows! He's gone from not wanting to even talk to us outside of a lesson to setting up his own appointments. That may not mean a lot to you, but WHOA. That's a big deal. So we were in a lesson this week talking about repentance and Sister A pulls out a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that talks about your confidence waxing strong in the presence of God. So we read the scripture, B blinks a few times, and bursts out, "How do you think of these scriptures off the top of your head?! And what does this even mean?!" He was just baffled how all that happens. What a hoot. 

Went on exchanges to Brownsville. Pretty fun stuff. Brownsville is right next to Sweet Home, so it was a bit nostalgic. Just a bit. 

Ok right now there are like 15 elders in the family history center that just got finished playing basketball. And they're arguing about iron man vs batman. Bless their hearts. 

But Brownsville was fun. I fed cows for the first time in my entire life! And I got to pet them. Good times, good times. That night at dinner I also heard a story about how this guy had to taze a moose to get him unstuck from wire fencing that was wrapped around a tree. It took like an hour and we were late to exchange back. But it makes for a good story! Ha.

Happy 6 months to meeeeee! 

Want to hear a awkward/sad story?

Don't worry, I'll tell you. 

Last night we were looking for a referral from another ward. So we were walking around this apartment complex and talking to people that were outside and whatnot. So this guy starts walking towards us from his car and we start up a conversation with him. He looks pretty uninterested and like he wants to run away. We get that a lot. But I don't understand why. We're awesome! And the message we have is even better!! Anyway Sister P just jumps to it and asks if he's ever met missionaries. And without missing a beat he says, "Yeah. I used to be one," then tries to walk away. Oh no no no buddy. Not happening. So we ask him about his mission and whatnot but he wouldn't really talk to us which I find pretty sketchy. The whole situation was just bizarre. Moral of the story: returned missionaries- stay active in the church!! 

Kay. Rant over.

Oh! So we had interviews with President Samuelian! I just love that man! So much! I also just so happened to be wearing the same shirt as Sister Samuelian. That's when you know you've got style! Anyways, we hit on a few things in the interview. He asked me about how I feel about my visa-waiter status. I told him that I'm all good in the hood (basically. didn't use that phraseology.) and that I'm happy to be serving here because it doesn't matter where you serve. We're called to serve the Lord. We're assigned to labor in a mission. The assignment isn't what matters most, it's how you serve. So I told him that in a little more detail and he just looks at me and says, "Sister Baker, there are challenges ahead for you. You know that, right?" I said that I figured things would get much harder pretty quickly because right now I feel like I've kind of got my footing even though I'm in a new area. Heavenly Father always changes things up on me when I start to get comfortable. So he told me that I'm going to be transferred to a new area. An area that has probably never seen sisters before and that I will be training a new missionary. Now I don't know how all of this will work with my visa paperwork apparently moving along, but I'll let him know. So the fantastic trio life is going to end in a few weeks. Then he also talked about how much Satan hates me. Typically it would hurt my feelings to hear about how much someone hates me, but it doesn't bother me a bit because I hate him just as much. Satan hates me and you and everyone else that is trying to do the Lord's will. And he always will hate us. #hatersgonnahate 

So then I told him about how my mind has been driving me crazy. The past month or so my mind has been slow. I don't really know how to describe it, but it just feels like it hasn't been working properly. And it's not like I think I have a tumor or anything, it's just that I can't pick up on things as fast as I normally do. For instance, we talk about the lessons we will teach in the morning during comp study, then right before we pray to go into the lesson we review it. It's like as soon as we step into their house I forget everything we talked about. And every time I pray so hard that I can remember what it is they need and the commitments we were going to extend and it just doesn't come. It's been so frustrating and I don't know why my brain can't handle mission life! It's been not good. So I told President about that and he was said that he can tell I'm really smart and I pick up on things very quickly (I'm not as smart as he described me though). And that I've been given this temporary mental block as a hurdle so I can understand and empathize with those that don't catch on as quickly or those that can't remember things well. That made a lot of sense to me and has been pretty comforting. It's nice to know that my brain isn't shutting down permanently, you know?

And that's life in this Salem neck of the woods!

Spread the gospel, follow Christ, remember who you are and what you stand for!

Sister Baker

January 28, 2014 Hoo-rah for Israel!

Hey there hayyy!

How's the work in your neck of the woods?! Because in Salem YSA it's rocking and rolling. Seriously. YSA is the place to be. 

I can't even remember everything that happened this week, but you should be assured that it was the bomb.com

So Sister A had been sick for quite a few days and had been having trouble sleeping at night. So one night early this week she was up coughing a lot, so I asked her if she wanted to get a priesthood blessing. She said yes but a bit uneasy because it was like 11 at night. Either way I called the district leader and it was amazing that he actually answered the phone. We definitely woke him up. But long story short we got our district leader, his companion, another companionship, and our Branch President over within 15 minutes to give Sister A a blessing. It was one of the sweetest blessings I've ever heard and now she's perfectly fine. The priesthood is real!!! Seriously. It is. I love it!

Remember the trip we took last week up to the Portland temple? Yeah me too. Well a recent convert named S invited her friend W to come with us, and this week we got to have our first lesson with him. Lemme just say, he's SO PREPARED. He looooved the temple and totally felt the Spirit. He already has a Book of Mormon and has committed to be baptized on February 15th! YEAH BUDDY! And get this, at the first lesson we had with him, he brought his friend named R who is awesome too! R didn't seem that interested at first, but later this week we took all three of them on a church tour and he felt the Spirit and wants to know more. He even told S that he liked meeting with us and felt really good at the church. Now that's what I'm talking about! They love basketball and it's great because so does just about every other YSA in Salem. So we hooked them up with some members this week and it was great. Sister P even played with them. I'm sure you know why I didn't play... Basketball & I don't mix all that well. But I do enjoy watching! 

Oh yeah, WE HAVE IPADS! How could I forget about that?! Sister P went to this training meeting (she's a sister training leader. like THE sister training leader) on Wednesday and surprised us that night with an iPad mini in her bag! We get ours tomorrow and I'm so pumped!!! Technology was invented for the spreading of the gospel. That's a fact. So now we're going to have everything on our iPads and it's going to be amazing. We've already used it a ton in lessons and I'm so excited to see the miracles that will come from it! Apparently the missionary department of the church also wants to test out missionaries having iPhones with hotspots, too. All this technology is still in piloting programs and in April all the data they collect will go to the Quorum of the Twelve. How awesome is that?!? It's hastening, folks. Get on board!

Ok, and I have to tell you about the T family. They're a family that lives upstairs in our apartment complex. They're polynesian and awesome. So naturally Sister P has a connection with them. So Brother T is actually a less-active member and after six months of them warming up to Sister P they finally have let us come over and have family prayer with them. The first time we went over we watched the Mormon Message "I Am a Child of God" and it was amazing. The kids are 12,9, and 4. The four-year-old L was bouncing around like four year olds do when we were just talking, but as soon as we turned on the video he was mesmerized. I think at first because it was the tv and he's a kid, but then he got to listening to the music and watching the video and the Spirit really touched him. After it was done he started shouting, "Again, dad! Again!" So we watched it again. Who could refuse that?? Then after the second time watching it we said a prayer with them then left. The next day we found out that that night when Brother T (who is a single dad) went to tuck in his kids at night they were all crying and hugging him because they felt the Spirit when they watched the video and had never felt that way before. They were kind of in shock and didn't really know what to do, but they liked the way they felt. So on Saturday we gave them a church tour (scavenger hunt & iPad included) and taught them about the sacrament and baptism. It was amazing! I love that family!

Also, I just love President Samuelian. Yesterday we were sitting in church on the back row. No investigators there even though we were expecting 4. Yeah it was a bummer. But we saw President Samuelian walk by and wave with a huge smile on his face, so we waved back.Then a few minutes later he walked by again, stopped, walked back to the doorway and mouthed, "I love each one of you three!" smiled, and walked away. Tender mercies, yo! I love that man. And we have interviews with him this week on Thursday. He's the bomb-diggity. 

Well, there's just so much going on in this neck of the Lord's vineyard and I love it. I'm so amazed that the Lord would trust me with His precious children in this area and love that I get to serve them everyday, which is really serving Him. The gospel is great!

Keep it real. 
Be a member missionary. 
Open your mouth and the Lord will fill it!

Love you all,
Sister Baker